There is plenty in this world for us to be discouraged, concerned, and worried. In fact, I have gotten to the point, in which I do not enjoy listening to the news on the television. It feels like every time I turn around, something horrific has happened – church and school shootings, terrorist’s attacks, and government issues. And, then on a personal level, I think most of us get up in the morning worried about something. We may have loved ones who are sick. We may be struggling to pay our bills. Our children may be bullied at school. Or, we may be in a situation of conflict that drives our emotions out of control. So many things in this world to be discouraged, concerned, and worried.
St. Paul writes a letter to the Philippians, telling them to “Rejoice in the Lord! (Philippians 4:4). Seriously Paul! How do we ‘Rejoice in the Lord’ when everything feels so hard in this life? But, then Paul goes on to say, “The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God” (Philippians 4:5-6). While it is difficult to “rejoice” when we are hurting or feel out of control with life issues, these words of Paul can give us comfort in the worst of storms. The Lord is near! We are not alone when life feels so overwhelming!
Paul continues to share with the Philippians that there really isn’t much that he has not experienced. He talks about the times when he has little and times when he has plenty. In other words, Paul is just like us! I have a feeling his life was not any easier than ours. He worried about what he was going to have for dinner; where he would sleep at night, and was even persecuted and thrown in jail for proclaiming Christ. However, he had a secret as to how he got through the difficult times in his life. He states, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me!” (v.13) Paul learned that if he was doing what was pleasing to God that he had nothing to worry about. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus! (v.7)
There is plenty in this world for to be discouraged, concerned, and worried. However, I believe that God knew our lives would be difficult. God knew that we would have times when we struggled. God knew our hearts would hurt. God knew we would suffer unjustly. But, the Good News is that God loves us and sends God’s son to demonstrate that love. Jesus’ life, by no means, was ever easy, yet suffered unjustly for our sake. The ‘even’ better news is that we don’t have to wait to have that life free from worry, or be discouraged, or concerned. We can have it right now! Through prayer and supplication, God will give us what we need to get through our days and difficult times. I believe it is worth a try.
After all, who wouldn’t want a life filled with peace that surpasses all understanding?